Congratulations on sitting through your tattoo! Now it’s time to take care of it…

It's important to bear in mind that your new tattoo, is, to all intents and purposes, an open wound and should be treated as such. By following the guidelines below you shouldn't encounter any problems during and after the healing process. Here goes...

Make sure your hands are nice and clean and remove the cover your tattooist has provided after a minimum of two hours. If circumstances dictate that you need to leave it on for longer, that's fine, just check that the tattooed area is completely covered. When you remove the dressing it will look pretty gooey - don't panic, this is just a combination of plasma (the pinky/clear substance that leaks from the puncture holes) and excess ink, and is completely normal.

Wash the tattoo THOROUGHLY with warm running water and soap, an antibacterial handwash such as Carex is ideal. As mentioned before the tattoo will be gooey and sticky at this stage, especially if you have had a large area of coverage/lots of solid colour. Using your fingertips only, rub the tattoo using the soap and water (yes, this will hurt, but it's necessary!) until the tattooed area feels clean and non-sticky. Rinse thoroughly. You may want to have a final rinse of cold water to lessen the sting as you will be feeling sore by now!

Let the tattoo air dry. Patting it with towels, paper towels etc can introduce unwanted fluff and fibres and potential infection. Once the tattoo is dry you will probably notice it starting to weep again - it’s time to recover the tattoo with fresh cling film, held in place by some medical tape (eg. Micropore) if necessary. You will most likely experience swelling, redness and a little discomfort with your fresh tattoo. Take ibuprofen if possible to reduce any swelling. Any redness should die down after a day or so, if after two days you are still experiencing swelling/redness/discomfort you should consult a medical practitioner.

It's a good idea to keep your tattoo covered overnight on the day you have had the work done, when you wake up, repeat the washing and drying procedure and see how it's doing. Use your common sense; if the tattoo still seems quite weepy recover it again whilst you go about your daily business especially if you work in a dirty environment. Repeat the process when you get home and when you feel it's ready, you can leave the tattoo uncovered.

After a few days you should notice a light scab forming over the tattoo - if you have followed the above instructions you should NOT end up with a thick, crusty scab! If at this point you want to apply anything to the tattoo to aid with the healing process we recommend as natural a product as possible, coconut oil is great but a gentle, non-perfumed moisturiser such as cocoa butter will do the job also. Be aware that Bepanthen (nappy rash cream) has changed it’s formula and as such we no longer recommend it. Avoid the temptation to peel or pick at the tattoo as it heals as this will affect the healed result. After approximately two weeks, any peeling/light scabs should be replenished with new, intact skin. The area should be completely healed in a further 10/14 days.

During the overall healing process, try to shower rather than bathe. If you have no other option than to have a bath, try to keep the tattooed area out of the water or avoid soaking for any length of time. Avoid swimming, saunas, sunbeds and direct exposure to sunlight for a month after you have been tattooed.

Once your tattoo has healed you should avoid exposing it to strong sunlight/UV light from sunbeds. This doesn't mean you'll never again have a tan just ensure that you cover the tattooed area with a high (30+) SPF sun block.

Think of your tattoo as an investment…  it's yours forever now so look after it!!